Presque Isle Downs Submits Application, Brings PA Sportsbook Total To 7

Written By Jessica Welman on December 11, 2018 - Last Updated on December 21, 2023
horse with number 7

When Churchill Downs Inc. announced it was buying Presque Isle Downs & Casino in March, company spokespeople did not mince words. They were heading to Pennsylvania for online gaming.

Prior to Friday, many were asking what the hold up was when it came to sports betting. The wait is over. According to GoErie, the casino submitted its application for a $10 million license on Friday. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed to PlayPennsylvania that the application came in shortly before the weekend.

Presque Isle was a matter of when not if

It was no secret Churchill Downs planned to include sports betting in its PA online gambling plans. In fact, the same week in May the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, Churchill Downs inked a deal with SBTech to work together on sports betting.

Also that same week, the company also partnered with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to get into the New Jersey sports betting market. With New Jersey’s sports betting market up and running since football season began, Churchill focused on getting that product off the ground before trying to get started in Pennsylvania.

With its NJ product possibly launching as soon as this month and the sale of Presque Isle finalized, the company can focus on a PA launch.

Seventh casino to apply for a sportsbook

With Presque Isle’s application, there are now more casinos moving forward on sports betting than ones that are not. Presque Isle joins Valley Forge in the queue of casinos awaiting PGCB approval. Meanwhile, there are still no official launch dates for the following casinos who have PGCB approval:

PGCB Communication Director Doug Harbach told GoErie that Valley Forge could present its application at the Dec. 19 board meeting, but it could be January before they appear. Given the date, do not expect Presque Isle to get in front of the board any earlier than January.

Even though Valley Forge and Presque Isle are late to the party, the slow goings on launching sportsbooks mean neither property may be too far behind the rest.

Rivers and SugarHouse initially hoped to open by Dec. 1; now neither casino will commit to a specific opening date. Additionally, so far PGCB is only allowing retail sportsbooks to launch. Mobile betting won’t be on the board’s radar until 2019.

All of that bodes well for Presque Isle and Churchill Downs, but it does beg the question why other players committed to PA sports betting, like Mount Airy, do not have paperwork in order.

Here is a look at the property’s application:

Presque Isle
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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has been a key voice in the legal betting industry since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. She contributed to and formerly managed several Catena Play-branded sites including PlayPennsylvania, PlayTenn and PlayIndiana. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for

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